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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,059
January 26, 2021
Biden Offers a New Day for America
By Mike McManus

The Joe Biden and Kamala Harris families began Inauguration Day by attending a Mass that was closed to the public. However, at their invitation, 100+ congressional leaders from both parties came and bowed their heads in prayer. That is how Biden lives his faith - not for show but because his religion is integral to his being.

The service began with a rousing song by the choir, "We've Come This Far by Faith," a traditional processional hymn of African American congregations. Isaiah 58 was quoted, "The Lord shall be our rear guard" and "You shall cry for help, and he will say, `Here I am.'"

Renowned opera singer Renee Fleming sang "Ave Maria" - reflecting upon Joe Biden's regular use of the rosary in his spiritual life. The final hymn "America the Beautiful," included these words, "Crown thy good with brotherhood."

Biden was sworn in as America's 46th President, declaring that "democracy had prevailed." However 25,000 troops had to patrol the city due to Trump's call for thousands of his followers to besiege the Capitol, threatening the lives of the Vice President and Members of Congress. Five people died and Trump was impeached for his misconduct.

History was made as Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman, the first black and Asian American to be Vice President.

Biden declared in his Inaugural Address, "The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We've learned again that democracy is precious and democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. This is America's day. This is democracy's day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve."

He never mentioned his predecessor, who refused to attend. Tragically, more than 400,000 have died from the COVID-19 disaster. Half could have been saved if Trump had urged people to wear masks. The virus "has taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II," Biden remarked.

He asserted, "We have much to do in this winter of peril, and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build and much to gain. Few people in our nation's history have been more challenged, or found a time more challenging, or difficult than the time we are in."

Biden pled, "Let's begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another, show respect for one another." Significantly, he added, "To all those who did not support us, let me say this: hear me out as we move forward....I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did."

"We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again...Folks, this is a time of testing. Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must. I'm sure you do as well."

Within hours of his address, Biden signed a series of executive actions that that reversed course on immigration, climate change, racial inequity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He ended the ban on travel from Muslim majority nations and declared his intent to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, and the World Health Organization.

Biden wore a mask while he signed the orders in the Oval Office - a marked departure from Trump, who rarely wore one. Mask covering is now required in all federal buildings.

Biden also imposed a 100-day pause in the deportation of non-citizens - the first step in a broader solution for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of whom have lived here for years. Biden has unveiled legislation that would allow millions to apply for citizenship.

Trump actually urged Congress to ignore the election results and keep him in office. A surprising number of Republicans followed his lead to destroy more than two centuries of healthy democratic elections. Trump illustrated how fragile and vulnerable our system is.

However, the new administration held up and will restore politics to a more normal contest between Democrats and Republicans.

Recent weeks have been painful and demonstrated how vulnerable our democracy is. But Biden is a man who lives his faith and has helped America emerge stronger and more inspiring.

With Biden and Harris now in charge - this is a new day for America.

_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

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